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In Review: WHP x MIF, Bonobo, Mayfield Depot

In Review: WHP x MIF, Bonobo, Mayfield Depot

Oscar Lister | Reviews

It’s been three years since Manchester International Festival and Warehouse Project last joined forces celebrating their shared 10th birthday with an all star dance music lineup in the cavernous space of Manchester's old and now somewhat derelict train station, Mayfield Depot.

This time round they are back in the same space, after much concern of imminent demolition, with 3 legendary lineups featuring: Manchester’s very own grime legend Bugzy Malone, dance music’s mighty warehouse duo of the decade, Bicep, and opening the series, the magisterial star of the ‘Ninja Tune’ international electronic music label, Bonobo himself. It was a night with epic expectations to live up to.

Image courtesy of Rob Jones

The performances themselves were first class. Josey Rebelle opened the night, followed by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson and once the majority of the crowd had filtered in, George Fitzgerald really kicked off proceedings with a live set featuring a host of crowd favourites and joined by a brilliant live singer.

Image courtesy of Rob Jones

Palms Trax was his usual lively self dropping obscure bangers such as ‘All Of It Now Please Thanks’ by Justin Vandervolgen and ‘Fish Liquor’ by Cosmo Vitelli.

But Bonobo was truly the man of the hour delivering a sensational set covering the likes of B.traits ‘North Shore’, Kink ‘Existence’, and Mella Dee ‘Techno Disco Tool’ accompanied by a mind boggling light display programmed by visual artist Stuart Bailes. But the highlights of the set emerged in the first instance when Bonobo played his own remix of ‘Flares’ by Nuage, and finally when he closed the night with his legendary and euphoric ‘Kerala’.

Image courtesy of Rob Jones

Unfortunately, the major disappointment for me came right at the start of the night from aggressive, rude and at times intimidating security staff, most out of sorts for the vibrant, welcoming and inclusive dance music culture that Manchester is known for. Handbags and rucksacks were confiscated and binned without explanation and attendants were rudely, rigorously and unceremoniously searched on entry seemingly completely at random. Perhaps this comes from an increasingly corporate and institutional outlook from Manchester’s Warehouse Project, or perhaps a reputational paranoia spilled over from Manchester International Festival, whose other events largely cover high brow art and theatre.

This aside however, the collaboration was a resounding success, and the event in all other aspects was expertly curated and coordinated. This show along with Bicep and Bugzy Malone are part of a series of pre-Factory events, paving the way for the opening of The Factory, a new major arts space being developed in the heart of the city that will be operated by MIF. If this opening event is anything to go by there are exciting times ahead for Manchester’s arts and music scene.

In Review: WHP x MIF, Bonobo, Mayfield Depot

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